Author: Jane Gilley
Publication Date: December 3, 2018
The Lady in the Van meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in this uplifting, funny and moving debut novel about a 79-year-old hoarder who is convinced the world is against her.
79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, squashed cardboard boxes, surplus carpet rolls, heaps of towels and knick-knacks littering the stairs. She hasn’t left her home for years, until a loud bang and a sudden smell of singeing sets in motion Gloria’s unwilling exodus from her home…
That day is the start of a journey that will never return Gloria back to her beloved, hoarded possessions, nor to her son’s house to live. For it is the start of her journey to discover life again – and she’s going to make some good friends and defiant decisions along the way, with just one very small suitcase in tow…
Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley is an uplifting story about aging. The main character is one that goes through a transformation and turns aging into a positive journey. Gloria is an interesting character to read about and her ability to overcome adversity is inspiring.
I have read quite a few books that discuss aging lately and it really does seem to be something that is becoming more prevalent in books as our society ages. The aspect of hoarding is really intriguing to me and is what drew me into wanting to read this novel and know more about the issues surrounding it. While the beginning of the story describes Gloria’s sad state of affairs, it seems to move on from this situation fairly quickly. The Woman Who Kept Everything is actually more about a woman who still has a lot of life to live.
Gloria was living a lonely life amongst her things in a ramshackle house when her son finally intervenes. Things escalate to the point that Gloria’s life became endangered. The intervention opens Gloria’s eyes and she realizes through counselling that her way of living was unhealthy for her. The story comes to life as Gloria decides to enjoy spending time with friends and learn new things in her travels.
There are lots of light-hearted moments that happen throughout the novel. It was especially fun to read about Gloria and her old flame taking a motorbike to the beach. The story really does show that there are so many exciting adventures Gloria has to look forward to.
If you are looking for a feel-good story that looks at the effects of aging on families, this is one book to check out. Hoarding is definitely something that is intriguing to read about. The Woman Who Kept Everything is the story of what happens as the hoarder heals and reclaims her life.